Maslow's hierarchy of needs
Background to Maslow's hierarchy of needs
The five levels of Maslow's hierarchy of needs
Deficiency needs include
- physiological needs: These are all basic needs such as eating and sleeping, i.e. needs at the physical level.
- safety needs: These are mainly the desire for security and stability, i.e. health and employment.
- love and belonging needs: This is the desire to belong to a group, a team or a family, i.e. a social structure.
- esteem needs: This is about how you are perceived by others. There is a need for recognition, power and status.
Needs are behaviourally effective and vary in strength between individuals, which can explain behavioural differences, personality constructs and different motivations. Which behaviour or need is realised first depends on the position of the motive in the hierarchy and the strength of the motive.
Extensions of Maslow's hierarchy of needs and criticism
One level above esteem needs are cognitive and aesthetic needs. Cognitive needs mean that someone is motivated by the expansion of knowledge and understanding. They want to understand how the world works and at the same time open themselves up to self-actualisation. Aesthetic needs involve an appreciation of the pleasurable things in life and an attempt to find a balance between oneself and the environment.
Although the motivational theory sounds very plausible, there are some criticisms of Maslow's theory.
Deficiency needs are not satisfied around the clock, but need to be worked on again and again. This means that higher needs would have to be put on hold in order to satisfy lower needs, which is not the reality. Higher needs can be satisfied without satisfying lower needs. The satisfaction of higher needs does not always require the satisfaction of lower needs. This means that the hierarchy is not rigid and that the domains are not to be seen as separate, but as fluid and sometimes parallel.
Nor is the hierarchy always comprehensible, especially when we consider different cultures. For some, the good of the group and the social fabric is more important than the need for self-realisation. Sometimes people take the path away from the need for security and towards self-realisation by choosing an insecure job. In this way, you may not have the feeling of a permanent job, but at least you have the chance to develop personally and to do what makes you happy. This means that the order of the hierarchy is simply different for some, and not, as with Maslow, that the lower needs must be satisfied first in order to fulfil oneself.
The importance in the modern world
This is where the hierarchy of physiological needs comes in. These include basic needs, such as a work and break room, or the right working environment, such as a good chair and a suitable desk. These needs must be met in order to satisfy the basic needs of the employee. These needs are self-explanatory, but if they are not met, it will also have a strong impact on the employee's motivation.
In addition, a project team member has a strong interest in safety, e.g. in the form of stability. This includes a permanent employment contract or the reliability of colleagues and superiors. A good example is the end of a project. You don't know what will happen next, but you are still responsible for the ongoing project, even though you have less and less to do. What if the project fails? Do you want to be associated with it? It is therefore important to give people an incentive to stay in the project until the end. This could be, for example, a promise that they will be taken on for the next project. This will give them the confidence and motivation to complete the project.
Love and belongingness needs
But there is also a need for love and belonging, because getting along with team colleagues, working together sensibly and working together on a project is important for working well. That's why team-building measures are also used when the team is having problems. Small gestures, such as a birthday or Christmas party, also ensure that love and belongingness needs are met.
These are more difficult to measure. How important are you in a group, how much are you valued by others and do you receive recognition? This need is very complex and many factors come into play. But one way to satisfy this need is through regular feedback sessions. This can be constructive criticism as well as positive feedback. In this way, motivation can be maintained. However, the team member must also try to draw motivation from within, because you cannot live on the positive encouragement of others.
The final and highest level is self-actualisation. You want your own strengths to be taken into account when tasks are assigned. This can also increase motivation. Of course, you cannot always take on tasks that are particularly motivating, because there will always be tasks that simply have to be done. But if the project manager wants to keep his team members, he should be aware of this. After all, this is how individual members can be motivated to continue working on the project.